Things to do in El Nido on a scooter (Philippines)

Updated: June 2019

Exploring El Nido on a scooter is one of our favourite things to do in the Philippines.  It is a convenient, cheap and a fun way to get to all the undiscovered spots (Just make sure that you packed all the essentials.)

We have seen some of the most beautiful places that we would never have got to see on a tour bus and met some friendly locals and made a few friends along the way.

If you looking for accommodation in El Nido, Palawan then check out Las Cabanas Beach Resort, in our opinion, it’s the best accommodation in El Nido. Alternatively, there are some great available too!

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Hiring a Tricycle VS Scooter

When we first arrived in El Nido we hired a tricycle with a driver to get around.  It was a great experience, especially if you not sure what to do in El Nido, Philippines.  I would suggest if it’s your first visit to El Nido that you hire a tricycle for a day while you finding your way around.

I can remember my first ride in a tricycle, sitting next to Li and thinking… “How are we both going to fit in here?”  I looked at Li giggling and realised she was thinking about the same thing.

Only later during our trip, we realised that there is always space.  One day we drove past a tricycle with 6 people stacked inside… with a mattress strapped to the top… and a chicken… It makes an awesome story!

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Why explore El Nido on a scooter?

Although catching a tricycle was fun, it becomes a bit pricey after a while, especially since there are so many activities in El Nido and visiting places that are a bit further away.  One day we hired a tricycle with a driver to take us on an excursion and the cost for one day was more than hiring a scooter for 8 days with petrol.

We hired a scooter for the rest of our visit to save a few Pesto’s but had no idea what epic adventures we would have and added great experiences to our El Nido itinerary. Don’t forget the GoPro, your sunglasses and some sunscreen

“It feels so good to be lost in the right direction” – Unknown

What to do in El Nido:

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Hire a scooter from the no-name scooter place in town

GPS: 11°10’48.4″N 119°23’23.1″E

Hiring a scooter in El Nido is very easy and laid back.  We hired a bike for approx 500 pesto’s a day from the scooter hire next to the police station in town.  We presumed since they right next to the station they should be legal and roadworthy.  The scooter hire just needed an ID (which they keep until you return the scooter) and off we went.  We didn’t have a number plate or helmet but the bike had a registered sticker so we just went with it. (Edit: After travelling SE Asia Rule 1… Always wear a helmet! I would never ride without a helmet now.)

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Nacpan Beach

GPS: 11°19’15.0″N 119°25’38.4″E

We heard Nacpan beach come up a few times while out and about from the locals and decided to check it out.  Before getting to the beach we had to go through the tourism office.

They normally charge a small fee to get to the beach.  The roads were so muddy that they were letting people pass for free at their own risk after signing the register.

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We were in the Philippines in early October and only had about an hour or two of rain per day.  It didn’t worry us… it was a bit of a blessing and cooled us down.

If you have been to the Philippines you will know how hot it can get.  An hour after the storm you would have never said that there had just been a downpour.

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The day we went to Nacpan the roads were extra muddy but it was such an adventurous ride. We giggled and laughed all the way and got a little muddy too.

I couldn’t believe that these roads would lead us to one of the most beautiful beaches in El Nido.

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After we arrived at Nacpan beach, we wiggled our toes in the sand and we both agreed that the muddy road was a small price for an unplanned adventure.  We were rewarded with peaceful views, crystal clear waters and beautiful white sands.  What I would give to be back there now?

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I think everyone should experience a beach like this at least once in their lifetime.  Local fishing boats are docked along the shore adding to the perfect photo.  Nacpan is a photographers dream!

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I could not resist jumping into the crystal clear water.  If you would like to try something a little different there is a floating bar available on the beach to enjoy a cocktail or two. Many tourists choose to go for a Scuba diving adventure nearby.

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Lio Beach

GPS: 11.207950, 119.416192

Lio beach is located within Bacuit bay on the west coast of Palawan.  Getting to Lio beach is easy, once we signed in at the checkpoint, the security pointed us in the right direction and we just followed the signs.

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The beach is clean and well maintained with an eco-friendly approach as part of the Lio Tourism estate.  There is a lot of development taking place around the area. (I can only imagine how much different it is going to be in a few years.)

The beach seems to be a favourite amongst the locals with only the occasional tourist.  We snapped a few pictures and enjoyed a relaxing stroll along the shore, the weather was perfect.  There is a promenade walk under the trees if you prefer some shade on a hot day.

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Pukka Bar @ Lio beach

GPS: 11.207252, 119.415629

We came across the Pukka bar, just opposite the pier on Lio beach.  The bar had an awesome vibe with a live DJ, a friendly barman, awesome decor and cold beers.  We saw a few plates of food come past from the kitchen and it looked delicious.

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Snap the Lio sign

GPS: 11.207950, 119.416192

Just outside the Pukka bar, we took a few photos of the Lio sign.  There are a few shops, souvenirs for sale and you can hire a canoe or snorkelling gear.  It’s worth spending a morning exploring the beach and catch a bit of sunshine.  If you lucky you may even spot a plane landing at the airport next to the beach.

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El Nido Airport – spot a plane

GPS: 11°12’08.1″N 119°24’59.4″E

The airport is right next to Lio beach.  El Nido is quite a remote place so it a bit expensive to fly there directly from Manila but it takes just over an hour.

Puerto Princesa has a variety of transport options available, catch a jeepney, a tricycle, hire a car or even a scooter.  The drive to El Nido will take approx 5 to 6 hours depending on the road.  We decided to book a flight directly to El Nido from Manila with AirSwift.  It would have taken an extra 2 days out of our trip if we went to Puerto Princesa first.

Related Article: Milagrosa Ferry from Iloilo to Palawan

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Get lost in the town of El Nido

GPS: 11.180000, 119.390155

There weren’t nearly as many shopping options as in Manila but you could find all the essentials, restaurants, bars, live music and a few souvenirs for mom.  People are helpful and most speak English fairly well.

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The streets get narrow and traffic can become congested in some places.  If driving gets a little overwhelming just park your scooter and explores by foot.  The town is not very big but make a note where you parked so you don’t lose your scooter or walk down ten different alleys to try to find your ride.

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Get a tattoo at Island Lyf Ink studio

GPS: 11.179735, 119.387964

We were supposed to get a tattoo during our travels in Goa but our plans didn’t quite work out.  When we saw Island Lyf Ink studio in El Nido we decided to get a permanent souvenir of our Philippines adventure and get a travel tattoo.

Li has a few tattoos already but this was my first tattoo and being a newbie I had some crazy some huge butterflies flying around in my stomach.  Our tattoo artist Lloyd is excellent, he is polite, professional and his work is top notch.

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After watching Li get her tattoo the butterflies went out the window and excitement took over.  We decided to get something plain but effective and eventually settled for a Wanderlust tattoo on our collar bone. In short, Wanderlust means “An impulse, longing, or urge to wander or travel”

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Would I do it again?  Yes! Was it sore?  Honestly, it wasn’t very painful and I’m already wondering what I should get next.

Happiness bar Express

GPS: 11°10’49.0″N 119°23’18.8″E

Lloyd gave us a free “Happiness” shooters to celebrate our new tattoo at the nearby Mediterranean Happiness Beach Bar. The bar is unique with swings for chairs, catchy slogans and chilled vibes.

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After our daily shot of Happiness, we celebrated our new souvenir with the friendly bar staff who all loved our new tat.  We decided to stay for lunch and take advantage of their happy hour margaritas which were like an alcoholic slush puppy and very refreshing on a hot day.

We ordered the “Maza to share” off the menu which we highly recommend!  Just thinking about it is making my mouth water. If you wondering what to eat while visiting the Philippines, then check out this guide with 15 Best things to eat in the Philippines.

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Falafel snack food

GPS: 11.180754, 119.390386

Did someone say falafel? Along Real Street, not far from the tattoo shop we found this little gem.  This little take away serves chicken, beef and vegan falafels with a choice of fresh salads, pickles and sauces.  The price doesn’t dent the pocket, its filling and was so delicious that we came back 3 times.

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Gusto Gelato ice cream

GPS: 11.181131, 119.391123

I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream… There was no way we were riding past this ice cream shop one more time without stopping, my persistence paid off and Li agreed to stop!

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I tried the Avocado flavour which was a bit out of the ordinary!  On the other hand, the cookies and cream and Nutella was to die for.

Buena Suerte beach

GPS: 11.180547, 119.389026

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The main beach in El Nido Town is called Buena Suerte Beach, boats line up throughout the day taking visitors on different tours and the beach comes to life at night with different bars and restaurants that have amazing views.

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** I just had to include this picture that we took on the beach. (This is Li’s favourite picture and how cute?!)

Tour A,B,C,D – Tour boats

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So since we arrived all we heard and read about was Tour A, B, C and D.  Everyone highly recommend them, especially Tour A and Tour C.

Each of the tours includes trips to different islands and some include snorkelling and visits to pristine beaches.  We agreed we had to endure at least one touristy thing so we booked tour C.

For days Li’s foot has been swelling up. The morning we were set to sail Li’s foot was very swollen but she insisted we try anyway.  We arrived at the beach and it was packed, I silently gulped and tried to convince Li to abort our mission but she insisted.  We were shown where to sit on the boat which had about 40 tourists not even 60 seconds later we were back on the beach looking for a tricycle to take us to the clinic, I could see she was in pain.

Avoid the emergency clinic

GPS: 11.179362, 119.390455

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After a small panic attack, a jab and some love and attention from the amazing nurses, Li was on the road to recovery. We found out the hard way that she had an allergic reaction. If you get bitten by tiny sand flies and have enough bites your skin can swell and get irritated. If you planning a visit please remember insect repellent, even on the beach!

The El Nido on a scooter adventure continues…

 The next day we were back on the scooter heading for the open road in the opposite direction to see what we could discover next.  We passed some waterfalls (Check out Kawasan Falls if you heading to Cebu), plenty of little shops and dozens of locals waving and smiling.

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Exploring El Nido on a scooter is one of the best things to do in the Philipines!

Stop to admire the view

GPS: 11.158434, 119.397855

 There are viewpoints along the way from town to Corong Corong beach so if you can it is worth pulling over to take your camera out. This was one of our favourite views to stop.

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Bella Vista bar

GPS: 11.149002, 119.397299

We followed a dirt road that headed down towards the ocean so we came to the entrance of this little bar called Bella Vista. It is a great spot to sit and relax while admiring this view.  It wasn’t very busy and offered us an opportunity to unwind, dip our toes in the ocean and cool down.

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Corong Corong beach

GPS: 11.146065, 119.396162

If you continue further along the road, just continue to the top of the hill. Once you see an unusual amount of tricycles and scooters parked on the side of the road you know you have arrived at Corong Corong Beach.  There are some great spots to swim and it has some of the best bars in El Nido.

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Maremegmeg beach bar

GPS: 11.146187, 119.396318

Best Cocktails! Nearly every bar in El Nido has a happy hour.  There is a huge variety of cocktails in every colour, shape and form.  The barmen are full of character and you can have your drink served to you on a swing.  The bar has Wi-Fi available. (The signal on the island is not very reliable and when it is, the signal is very weak)

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Maremegmeg has kayaks and SUP boards to hire.  We hired a transparent kayak for the afternoon and went around Depeldel Island which you can reach at the end of the beach.

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The Beach Shack

GPS: 11.146050, 119.395984

The beach shack has some delicious options on their menu.  They provide chairs on the beach to relax, soak up the sun and order lunch and drinks.  We couldn’t get enough of their Calamansi slush which is made up from a local lime and crushed ice.  It’s refreshing on a hot day! The bar has a great vibe and good music.  They also have Wi-Fi available, just ask the waiter for the password.

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Full moon party @ The Beach Shack

Every full moon the beach shack host a Full Moon party where they will have a DJ playing until the sun comes up, the crowd loved the fire dancers and the fireworks!

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El Nido zip line to Depeldel island

GPS: 11.143789, 119.392989

This was a very adventurous stop and I am not talking about the actual zip line… it was getting there.  If you jump on your scooter from Corong Corong Beach and carry on a little further you will see the sign that says zip line this way.  What the sign doesn’t tell you is…. get there at your own risk!  (There is an easier way along Corong Corong beach just follow the signs.)

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Going at the end of October and having an hour or two showers every day, the dirt road and hill to the top of the zip line become a mudslide.  We came out battered and bruised, but the actual zip lining was well worth it!

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The zip line is 750 meters and there are two options available.  You can either sit or lie superman style.  Two people can go at a time so you don’t have to share the incredible view on your own.

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Coming back you have a choice of a 10 min walk to the beach below or you can zip line back again to the start (which is the option we went for)

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The views are spectacular and the experience offers a unique way to see the island and its beauty.  It’s not as scary as it looks, its quite slow and laid back.

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Las Cabanas beach resort

GPS: 11.144233, 119.393028

Leaving the best for last! At the end of Corong Corong beach, you will find one of the places to stay on the island…  Las Cabanas beach resort.  This is the place to unwind and enjoy the view. The service is first class, food is delicious and they have some great cocktails!

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Las Cabanas is most popular for its incredible sunsets.  If you explore El Nido on a scooter you will often pass locals asking if you going to Las Cabanas to see the sunset.

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There is snorkelling gear available from the bar at a reasonable daily rate.  Ask the staff to point you to the best snorkelling spots and you will be mesmerised for hours!

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All roads lead to El Nido

Hopefully, this post will make you realise some of the incredible adventures that you can have on a scooter!

A huge advantage of hiring a scooter is that you can travel in your own time and stop when you want.  Li and I simply followed the road and stopped whenever we saw something that interests us.  We got an insight into the roads less travelled, took photos of the local houses, animals, abandoned structures, beautiful landscapes and even met some of the friendly local Filipinos.

Book some tours in El Nido before you go!

Have you explored El Nido on a scooter?  What El Nido activities would you enjoy the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post about what to do in El Nido, Palawan then you can subscribe to our blog here or why not save on Pinterest for later?


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* All cost for this trip to El Nido, Philippines were paid by us. Although we try to ensure that all information provided in this El Nido on a scooter article is as accurate and correct, we cannot be held liable for any errors. This site may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you. All opinions are our own.  Images may be used around the web as long as you credit us and link back to our website Images may not be used for advertising and commercial purposes. You are welcome to contact us for rates and terms for commercial rights.

Lisa Nozaic

Adventure junkie, coffee addict and passionate about travel. "It’s better to look back on life and say “I cant believe I did that” then look back and say “I wish I did that” Follow me on twitter @soul_drifters

27 thoughts on “Things to do in El Nido on a scooter (Philippines)

  • January 27, 2019 at 3:43 am

    Wow, thanks. Great blog. Nice photos, good tips. Thank you. I am going this week, either scooter or bicycle.

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  • August 23, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Wow! Amazing adventure on a scooter! I never thought you’ll be able to explore lots of beaches via scooter in El Nido. Island hopping perhaps is an overrated adventure in El Nido? HAHA! El Nido is really magical and beautiful but I never really had a good experience with the tour operator.

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  • January 23, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Exploring on a scooter is the best way to explore! I rented a moped in Banff and easily saw all the waterfalls, mountains and greenery and it was so much fun. I love that you can get falafel as street food and I’m always down for gelato. El Nido sounds wonderful I hope to visit one day.

  • January 22, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    WOW it looks like you had an awesome time! so many things to discover in El Nido! It is great to know we could rent a scooter to get around too! thanks for sharing!

  • January 21, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    What an amazing experience you ladies had exploring the Island. Every beach looks beautiful, I so want to visit every one of them. Perfect capture of the fire performance. Hiring scooter was definitely a good idea to hit the beaches at your own pace!

  • January 20, 2018 at 11:36 am

    The tricycle is such a cool vehicle. I have not seen anything like this before. I would love to ride it. Nacpan beach seems like a peaceful place. I would love to explore El Nido on foot. Interesting place.

  • January 19, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Hello, fellow South African – you guys look like you had so much fun! El Nido reminds me a bit of Phuket – it’s so beautiful. And those falafels and gelatos are really making my mouth water!

  • January 19, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    I love to ride a scooter, although I’ll sit on back as I don’t know how to ride one 😀 But to explore a new destination on a two-wheeler is surely fun. Nachpan beach is my photographic dream, for now, the clear blue water and the rather empty and quiet beach is I look for on a beach. Buena Suerte Beach might be the main beach but for me the highlight was Nachpan. Also, a trip will to el nido will be incomplete without falafel and ice cream 😉

  • January 19, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Yes scooter is the way to go when traveling in Asia! They are cheap to rent and the best and the most fun way to discover places! Unfortunately when we were in El nido in 2011 my husband got badly sick of a stomach flue so our time was mostly spend on the main town. Looking at your discoveries on a scooter makes me want to head back there! But even though we did went back to El nido, our days on a scooter is over as we now have a baby daughte!. I know, I have seen a whole family on a scooter before but we prefer to better be safe than sorry.

  • January 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    What a fun way to discover a new city! When I first traveled around Europe, I rented a bicycle. Scooters would be so awesome. And like you said, Nacpan is a photographers dream! It’s so beautiful!

  • January 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Looks like you guys had a fun trip in El Nido! Scooter is a fun way to explore a place, and such a shame about the clinic visit in between, but will remember my repellent! The beaches you mentioned are gorgeous and well worth the muddy ride!

  • December 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    You girls are adventurers indeed! Traveling by scooter there is the perfect way to see the area and I love how you’re able to discover some places which aren’t usually frequented by tourists. El Nido has a special place in my heart too. 🙂

  • December 8, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Omg, this is such a great and cool experience! After seeing your posts, I just want one thing: get my backpack and go somewhere!

  • December 7, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Wow what a trip! I’ve always been a bit scared to ride a scooter when travelling because I’ve never done it before! Maybe one day…
    I’m so sorry to hear about the sand flea incident! Same thing happened to me in Cuba and my legs got so badly swollen and itchy I had to go to the medics too! I feel your pain!
    I look forward to reading more of your adventures soon

  • December 7, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Loved reading your post. I should admit I never thought about Philippines as a travel destination. Guatemala has never been on my radar (I don’t know really why ?) but now I feel like I definitely need to go. Hiring a scooter seems an exciting experience ! I would love to just relax on the Corong Corong beach, and kick back on its powdery soft sands 😉

  • December 7, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Wow so many beautiful spots! Sounds like an incredible place to visit, and any the hiccups along the way just add to the adventure right?! Great tip about the insect repellent, sand flies are the worst! Your 360 photos are awesome, what do you use to take them?

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  • December 7, 2017 at 11:27 am

    What an epic adventure! You seem fearless. Some of those views look absolutely magical and that meal of falafel and avocado ice cream sounds (and looks) like something I must try! And I love how you marked each location with the GPS coordinates… so helpful.

  • December 7, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Hi, You really had a great fun. You have beautifully presented the glimpses of all the fun through amazing photos. The view from zip line is mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing.

  • December 7, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Amazing trip and photos you have done! I havent had breakfast yet but could sure eat some of those falafels in the photo!! Must be a great experience riding around on a scooter, something a bit out of my comfort zone.

  • December 7, 2017 at 8:13 am

    This is such a thorough guide! Thank you so much for all the info. I found the Philippines to be similarly beautiful when I went in February. In Bohol and Boracay motorbike was also the best mode of transportation. I can’t wait to get back!

  • December 7, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Oh, this looks like my kind of trip 😀 The places you went look absolutely amazing and good job jamming it all into one trip and post 😉

  • December 7, 2017 at 6:56 am

    We did exactly the same thing when we were in Koh Lanta in Thailand! Hiring a scooter is the best choice in places like this. We loved the freedom too and discovered some of the best beaches on the island. And it just feels so amazing being on the scooter! El Nido looks stunning. Would love to explore the Philippines one day.

  • December 6, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Hey guys. Oh my word! What an amazing post! Pictures are out of this world! Love Sammy

  • December 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Wow thanks what amazing photo’s. Will definately put on my bucket list


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